Archive for category Big Brother
July 26, 2012
Congress in the US is considering extending the Act which gives federal agents broad wire-tapping permission. Officials have now come clean and said that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act has been used to violate people’s Constitutional rights at least once in the past 4 years. US activist Aaron Swartz describes the practice is virtually illegal.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
by: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] Finally, a federal court has ruled that the government has overstepped its constitutional bounds that are supposed to curb its ability to spy on citizens.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled recently that the National Security Agency – the nation’s premier global spy – has, “on at least one occasion,” violated the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
The ruling from the secret U.S. national security court is the first time the federal government has acknowledged its spy activities overstepped legal parameters since passage of a law in 2008 “that overhauled surveillance laws following the uproar over the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program in the George W. Bush Administration,”The Wall Street Journal reported.
The finding of the court was disclosed in a letter from a top aide to National Intelligence Director James Clapper, to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the latter is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a potent critic of the law which permits warrantless wiretaps.
The aide, Kathleen Turner, a senior official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said in the letter that the agency had “remedied” the problem which led to the violation. She also said subsequent surveillance requests had been approved by the court.
‘Transparency, compliance, oversight’
In commenting about the ruling, Wyden said the government had at times “circumvented the spirit of the law” in conducting its surveillance and wiretapping operations. He noted the national security court has agreed on at least one occasion.
“Many officials have tried to present a picture of careful compliance with both the law and the constitutional rights of Americans,” he said, WSJ reported. “This information shows that hasn’t always been the case and there have been what I consider to be some serious violations.”
July 25, 2012
Earlier this year, the spy satellite industry was hit hard by defense budget cuts.
For the top two commercial satellite companies, which survive largely by providing imagery to the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies, the cuts left only enough money for one to survive.
Now budget austerity has forced the companies to merge together and create a new space monopoly with control over what we see from orbit.
On Monday, Colorado-based satellite firm DigitalGlobe announced it’s merging with Virginia-based competitor GeoEye in a stock and cash deal worth $900 million. The merger works out in DigitalGlobe’s favor, which keeps its name intact and whose shareholders will control 64 percent of the new company.
DigitalGlobe will also take over GeoEye operations. Best known for providing imagery for applications like Google Earth, the companies combined provide more than three-quarters of the U.S. government’s satellite images.
The company also has somewhat of a codependent relationship with the Pentagon. For one, the companies help serve a need for satellite images that the government’s own aging fleet of satellites can’t always fulfill.
Meanwhile, the companies are dependent on funding from Congress and the Pentagon’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in order to stay afloat. This year, that funding got cut — severely.
Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced it was pushing “significant reductions” for commercial satellite imagery for fiscal year 2013.